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Merch-by-Amazon-podcast

In September 2015 Amazon quietly rolled out its new print on demand platform, Merch By Amazon.

Listen to the Merch Entrepreneurs podcast & find out how I made $6754 in one month designing for Merch. Learn more and join the community at www.merchentrepreneur.com

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In December 2014 I stumbled across Amazon FBA & private labeling, and was immediately intrigued. Amazon FBA offered me the possibility to grow a global ecommerce business in the USA and Europe, working from my home in Ireland.

10 months later after I started, I have 15 products for sale in 5 countries, and my first 6 figure revenue (not profit) month. My focus was to build this business as large and as fast as possible. But I soon realised that to achieve this goal I needed to get help – I needed a virtual assistant. There was a ton of work to be done.

I had to choose a category, do product research with JungleScout and choose a product. I had to search it wasn’t patented and then look at what Amazons customer liked and disliked about the current products for sale. With that information gathered, then it was off to Alibaba.com to research suppliers, find out who had what I needed get pricing and order in samples.

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Once I had a sample approved, then it was onto creating a list and doing keyword research, writing a great description, bullets and title and taking and editing photos on a white background.

As the launch date approached and my new products were heading by ship or plane to Amazon’s warehouses, then it was focusing on my launch strategy, how to get the first reviews and starting PPC soon after.

And when the product was live, the work didn’t stop! I had to check for hijackers daily, look at my conversion rate, check my PPC to optimise my best performing ads and then think about launching my second product.

There was enough work here to ensure that I never slept!

And because I wanted to scale my business up quickly, I knew the only way it would be possible is if I hired someone to help me. Doing everything myself was going to stop my business scaling quickly.

I wanted to focus on what would be really important – business strategy, growth and expansion, going to Amazon conferences, joining Amazon masterminds, expanding to other countries, starting new brands, creating stronger supplier relationships and selling on other platforms.

There is an outsourcing model I’ve applied to other successful online businesses I have built and sold, so I decided to see if I could apply my virtual assistant model to my new Amazon FBA business.

Here is the list of 15 tasks I needed a VA to help with.

PRODUCT SOURCING:

• Jungle Scout product research
• Patent search
• What people like / dislike about competing products on Amazon
• Find good Alibaba suppliers

PRODUCT LISTING

• Keyword research with keyword inspector
• Write title, description and bullets and keywords for new product listings
• Put white background into product photos

PRODUCT MANAGEMENT WHEN LIVE

• Weekly product listing screenshots
• Weekly monitor voting of bad reviews on Amazon
• Daily hijacker checking
• Weekly inventory tracking
• Ask for European reviews
• Reply to negative product feedback on live product pages
• Customer service emails in USA
• Customer service emails in Europe (English, German, French, Spanish and Italian)

If I could find someone to do all of these tasks for me it would free up my time to do much more important work like.

I’ve hired over 520 people in the last 3 years for various projects on upwork.com so I posted up a job there, and included 5 important questions to use as filters for potential VAs. These included filtering for only those who lived in the Philippines and also included a test for great written English. There is no point hiring a VA with poor written English as you will be spending all day correcting their typos.

In under 24 hours I had 8 excellent job applicants. A few applicants even had experience with some of the Amazon tools that I use like keywordinspector. The next day my VA began work and has literally been a lifesaver ever since. His most important role is answering all customer emails twice a day in 5 different languages. This alone has freed up so much of my time and headspace.

He also does everything I needed from the list above – from finding new products with jungle scout to writing wonderful descriptions using high converting Amazon keywords which he also identified.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

How do I find a VA I can trust? The largest group of VAs are on upwork.com so I would start there. Initially for your first VA, I would recommend to start them with the more simple tasks that do not require an Amazon login. These could include product research with Jungle scout, checking for hijackers daily and looking for new suppliers on Alibaba.com

Should I train someone from the ground up or find someone with Amazon experience? Both have worked really well for me. With the right process it’s actually quite easy to train up a new VA. If they already have experience, that’s a bonus.

How much should I pay? In general you should be able to find a great VA for $3-$4 an hour.

Do I have to start with a fulltime VA? No. A great way to start is with a VA for 10-15 hours per week. As your business grows you can increase their hours.

What are the best Amazon jobs to outsource to free up my time? For me it’s been customer service, product research, inventory management and writing new product listings.

If you are interested in learning more I have put together some online training covering everything you need to know to find, hire, and manage an incredible Amazon VA.

It also includes videos that your new VA can watch to learn how to do all of the tasks listed above. Learn more here.

Are you using a VA in your FBA business? What’s your experience been like? Let me know in the comments.

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